In 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Netherlands published its policy note ‘Dialogue and Dissent’ to give shape to a series of new Strategic Partnerships for ‘lobby and advocacy’. The key premise behind this is that civil society plays a crucial role in achieving the sustainable development agenda and standing up for social, environmental, economic and human rights. They are the ones who articulate their rights and needs; the ones who need to hold government and other actors to account; and lobby and advocate for changes in policies, legislation and funding. But, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) often cannot fulfil their role.
As part of the Dialogue and Dissent programmes, 25 (consortia of) CSOs were selected as strategic partners in the area of lobby and advocacy for the period 2016-2020. This includes a number of partnerships around the broad theme of water, including Watershed (focusing on strengthening water and sanitation governance); Voice for Change Partnership (focusing on several sectors including WASH) and Partners for Resilience (focusing on resilience amongst others in water resources management).
The key rationale behind these three partnerships is the recognition that the world faces a water crisis, in which still too many people lack access to safely managed water supplies and sanitation facilities, where people are facing increasing levels of water scarcity or are threatened by flooding.
To address this water crisis, CSOs play a number of crucial roles such as:
1. Claiming the human rights to water and to sanitation
2. Holding government to account for their role as duty bearers in WASH service delivery and water resources management
3. Ensuring they have a voice in discussions on access to and allocation of water resources
For more information, and to register, see the IRC website